A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Three
Being a prisoner of the Saave was not quite exactly how
Sovan had expected. They were taken into the tree's cave soon after, and he soon
discovered that the tree was hollow and made into a large room, littered with
maps and other pieces of parchment in the back. In the center was a sharp, descending
staircase with dangerously steep steps leading underground. Their footsteps' echoes
ceased as the Lupe and Gelert were motioned by Daene to follow him down the darkened
staircase. Sovan was halfway surprised to watch Dizzconnie step forward, face
downcast and drained of hope. He sighed softly and followed, hesitantly stepping
onto the first stone ledge. It was slippery with moist earth and he feared of
losing his balance, but he set a paw on the ground as he descended to keep his
weight stable, stopping once he reached the point that he could no longer reach
the ground level. At that point, he released his grip on the dirt edge and held
out his arms to prevent himself from stumbling.
Dizzconnie suddenly felt solid dirt under her
paws again, and she glanced to Daene in the dim light. The Krawk took hold of
a torch held on the wall, beckoning them in front him. She kept back a sneeze
as the dungeon's sour odors reached her nose at last, the foul smell of rotting
food hammering against her nostrils the hardest. She looked down the tunnel,
noting the fork ahead. There were most likely many of them in the old corridors.
Daene stopped them with a tug of their chains
and clicked a large skeleton key into the lock of a large iron barred door.
He swung it open and led them into a rather large cell before hooking their
chains to a pair of large metal rings. With a snort and a sneer he reclosed
the door and locked it before padding away.
As the light of the torch faded away, Dizzconnie
shuddered. The darkness clung to her like an icy wet blanket, but then a faint
glow appeared about a hundred yards off. She was surprised at how wide the room
was, for it was only about five feet in length. "Sovan," she whispered, "there's
someone in here."
The Lupe sat down and said, "Then let them be,
they're not getting out any quicker than we are." Dizzconnie sat as well, but
then she poked him. "What!?"
"They're moving closer."
"Now you're seeing things. You can't possibly
see anyone down here."
"I can see their torch," she retorted.
Sovan glanced to his left, past Dizzconnie,
and was startled to see a flame almost seeming to float in the darkness until
he saw a face come into view. It was a Mutant Lenny. It stopped about five feet
from them, and Sovan felt a flicker of hope kindle inside of him.
"Who are you?" the Lenny asked curiously, obviously
more interested in whom they were than why they were there. "There's no need
to fear me, I am here to help you if will allow me to."
"I'm Dizzconnie," the Gelert said instantly,
ignoring the glare Sovan shot at her.
"Wait, hold on a moment. How did you get down
here and why would you want to help us?" Sovan barked, pinning his auds to his
skull. This pet seemed too kind for his liking.
"I have lived here for many years, and I know
much about these pets so I am offering to get you away from them. This one cell
has many doors, and I venture around this certain gate quite often since Daene
had taken a liking to using only it. Oh, by the way, I'm Xiakil." The Lenny
gave a short bow, his brown wing sweeping across his front. "You are not the
only ones I have found down here you should know." With that two other pets
emerged from behind him, one a drooping Faerie Bori, the other a Brown Ixi.
"Frauns!" Sovan shouted, leaping to his feet
to only be restrained by his chains.
The blacksmith smiled and drew closer to his
friend, embracing him. "What are you doing here, Sovan? Dizzconnie?" He suddenly
backed away again, a troubled look upon his face. "Surely you didn't leave Ovalon
because of me."
"I am sorry, but we must be leaving soon," Xiakil
said suddenly, handing the torch to the Bori. He took ahold of Dizzconnie's
cuffs and slipped in a small key, unlocking them. He did the same with Sovan
before motioning for them to follow as he strode to the door and unlocked it
as well. "These tunnels are quite complicated, but there are several places
where they nearly break the earth. Come, one of those areas is quite near."
Sovan and Dizzconnie fell into step with Frauns,
and the Gelert said, "Well, we came partly because of you. Mostly for Manov
though... Sovan was going to get help for you, but then he disappeared, so..."
"He is here, but-"
"We know," Sovan responded flatly. "Let's not
talk about that, shall we?"
Frauns shook his head. "If you don't want to
then we won't."
About thirty minutes later, after taking an
array of left turns and occasionally stopping to rest, the Bori pointed out
a shaft of light, and Dizzconnie held back a whoop of joy. "We're getting out,
Jinni," the Gelert whispered to the other Faerie pet. "It's going to be good
to see actual light again."
Jinni only nodded with a wide grin, still too
weak to speak at the moment.
Xiakil placed the torch in one of the iron holders
on the earthen wall and spread his mighty wings and thrust them downward, lifting
his large form off the ground and allowing him to clamp his talons on the wall.
With his beak he widened the small hole and then lowered back to the ground.
"Go on, I'll make sure no one is coming," he said softly, letting them instantly
know that the corridor was an area where the Saave were often spotted.
Sovan and Frauns aided Jinni and Dizzconnie
in climbing through the hole, and then Frauns exited next, Sovan following.
Then, Xiakil emerged with some difficulty. "Come, let's cover our footprints,"
he said, ignoring the hole after that. He saw the others staring at the darkness
and answered, "The tunnels often cave in, if we don't leave evidence that we
were here, they will not know you escaped." The others nodded, but only mingled
around, covering footprints and creating new ones. Frankly, they looked quite
ridiculous. The Lenny thought a moment. "Wait... climb those trees, I will cover
the prints and meet you up there," he said at last.
The others nodded almost automatically and trudged
to a large tree, one by one climbing into its branches.
Seeing the last of them lift from the ground,
Xiakil took a large weed and hovered above the dry earthen section, sweeping
away their prints with the plant tightly clamped in his talons. Checking the
area, he tossed the plant aside and glided to the tree's highest branches. He
gave a long sigh as his talons gripped the branch, feeling relieved to fly after
such a long time of being underground.
"About how long will we be up here?" Frauns
called up to the Lenny, not quite feeling comfortable in the tree. He uneasily
shifted his weight, constantly avoiding the moment where he would most likely
look down and loose his balance as a result.
Xiakil smiled. "Why you shall travel to where
ever you are going by treetop, my friend," he answered, extending a wing to
point to the closely packed trees and their large branches. "Or at least you
can get a ways from here before climbing down."
Sovan tilted his head. "You will not come, Xiakil?"
He knew he sounded childish, especially since he had only just met the Neopet.
"And what about Jinni, does she even know where she is going?"
"Coursett," Jinni answered at once.
The Lenny shrugged. "I guess I could, I have
no other place to go. The two misses can fly and you should be able to easily
leap the branches, so I guess dear Frauns may ride upon my back."
Frauns look relieved. "Thank you!" he huffed.
Several moments later, Sovan found himself actually
having fun, leaping from branch to branch, using all four of his pillars to
quicken his pace. He more then often let out a laugh of pure glee with his series
of leaps and ducks, soon finding himself racing the others in the sky.
Dizzconnie glanced down at Sovan and smirked
as she dove into the canopy, landing on one of the branches and taking a cautious
leap to another. Then she leapt once more. Quickly gaining confidence, the Gelert
was soon whipping past tree trunks, competing with the Lupe in a race of agility.
But the fun and games soon ended and Xiakil
lowered into the forest, closely followed by the others.
"If I had had the energy to race with you guys,
you wouldn't have stood a chance," Jinni said smiling.
They stopped at a small creek, allowing each
other to clean their dirtied faces and paws or claws or hooves. For the next
few minutes the group rested, exchanging their output on their former captors
and what could possibly be done. Not much was concluded for either the plans
were unfairly farfetched or too complicated for them to carry out. It would
be decided later, when they had had something to eat. And so, Xiakil and Jinni
departed in search for food for the group.
Frauns was uneasy. "Why did you leave Manov
down there? What is going on?" the Ixi asked, clearly confused.
Sovan sighed and looked to Dizzconnie, who looked
away. "It's quite complicated, but it looks like we have the time..."
To be continued...